In my opinion, one of the biggest perks of enrolling in the SMF program has been the access it provides to Fisher’s impressive list of guest speakers. I am only a few months into the semester and already I have had the chance to hear from equity analysts, investment bankers, and even several CFO’s from big name corporations.
Just a few weeks ago, Robert Green, the CFO of GE Capital (a $46 billion company), came to Fisher. He was in town for the 2013 National Middle Market Summit, which was co-hosted by GE Capital, the National Center for the Middle Market, and The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business. Mr. Green spoke about his strategy and goals as a CFO, as well as offered some advice to the students in attendance. Namely, he recommended that students really connect to their studies, that they stay informed about world news, and that they see the interview process as a two-way street, i.e. try to find a company that reflects your values and meets your specifications rather than just taking any job that comes along.
The SMF program has also hosted several exclusive events. For example, earlier in the year, the SMF students were able to speak with Larry Hilsheimer, the CFO of The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, which is headquartered in Marysville, Ohio, and coming up in the next few weeks, we will hear from Andy Rose, the Vice President and CFO of Worthington Industries, Inc., a leader in the diversified metal processing industry.
These speakers are such an invaluable resource. I can’t wait to see who will be here in the Spring!
As part of our Leadership class today, we were asked to take a short-form version of the famous Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. The test identifies your preferences between eight personality characteristics, which have been divided into four pairs of opposites: Extroversion (E) and Introversion (I), Intuition (N) and Sensing (S), Thinking (T) and Feeling (F), and Judging (J) and Perceiving (P). After answering questions like “When making a decision, the most important considerations are: a. rational thoughts, ideas, and data or b. people’s feelings and values,” you are left with four letters that are meant to encompass the major components of your personality.
I had taken similar tests before, so I was not necessarily surprised by my results (ISTJ), but I had never thought of how differences in personality play out in the workplace. For example, Dr. Rodgers presented evidence from a sample of US companies that showed that a full 70% of Junior Managers fall into the Extrovert category, while about 55% of Senior Managers are introverts. Similarly, about 80% of Junior Managers were categorized as Sensing, compared to just 40% of Senior Managers. Now, obviously this does not mean that I, as an ISTJ, am destined to be a Senior Manager, but it was interesting to see how certain personality traits align with different jobs within a company. What I really took away from the lecture, though, was that, by understanding how other personality types think and make decisions, you can greatly improve your ability to communicate and work efficiently in a team setting, not to mention understand your spouse better! For a free personality profile and to see how your four letters may play into your career path, click here.
Even though it feels like classes just started, second term is only weeks away, and it is already almost time to schedule for spring semester. That means I need to start thinking about which track I will be specializing in: corporate finance, investment management, risk management, or real estate. Right now, my SMF classmates seem pretty evenly divided between corporate finance and investment management, with a handful of others pursuing risk management and real estate. I personally am still torn between the corporate and investment tracks. Not having a finance background, I think it will take me a bit longer to determine what jobs interest me, and into what categories those jobs fall.
Luckily for me and other students in a similar position, the SMF program is designed to help you find the right path. During the second term, which runs from mid-October until Winter Break, all of the SMF students are required to take Corporate I and Investments I, along with Leadership, Derivatives I, and Data Analysis II. This allows everyone to get a taste for the two main tracks and, from what I hear, I should know pretty quickly in which direction I am leaning.
However, if I still cannot make up my mind, I am sure the SMF faculty and staff will continue to be a great source of guidance. One piece of advice I have heard from several of our professors is to read—read the textbooks, read newspapers like The Wall Street Journal, and read magazines like The Economist. Then think back on what topics, industries, and companies caught my attention, what was I naturally drawn to, even if seems like a far-fetched career path. That could help point me towards not only a track within the SMF program, but also possible employers for the future. Because, after all, shouldn’t the end goal be to get not just any job, but a job I actually love?
Check out the full list of spring semester electives here!
Labor Day weekend is usually a pretty big deal in Columbus. For some, the holiday marks the unofficial end of summer, the day to pack away those white jeans and seersucker shorts until next year. For others, the long weekend is a chance to spend extra time with family and friends, usually around the grill (if the weather cooperates). And this year, of course, Labor Day weekend also marked the return of the Ohio State Football Buckeyes, who started off the season with a 40-20 win over Buffalo. But for me, the best thing about last weekend, and every Labor Day weekend in my recent memory, was the Greek Festival at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral in the Short North.
Besides touring the beautiful cathedral, this four-day festival offers guests the opportunity to experience traditional Greek dancing and to hear Greek folk songs as performed by the Hellenic Singers. However, the highlight of the festival, by far, is the food. Whether you want gyros and souvlaki or homemade mousakka, you will find it at the festival- and it will be DELICIOUS! There is even an entire room dedicated to pastries.
This year, the Greek festival was especially memorable because I was able to enjoy it with some of my new SMF classmates, including one student who is actually from Athens and so was able to teach us all a lot about the Greek culture and language. While we were there, we even ran into two of our SMF faculty members and their families, which was great!
Of course, the Greek Festival is not the only festival we have in Columbus. In fact, from April to November, there seems to be at least one every weekend. Check out a list of all of the 2013 festivals here.
Even though it still feels like summer outside, the long lines at Starbucks, empty shelves at Target, and packed parking lots mean school at The Ohio State University is officially back in session. However, while I may be new to the Fisher College of Business and the Specialized Master of Business-Finance (SMF) program, I am not new to life as a graduate student at OSU. This past May I graduated with an MS in Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics from the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. I decided to come back to Ohio State and pursue a second Master’s degree, not because I never want to work, but because I knew that the practical skills and experience using programs like Excel, Bloomberg, and Capital IQ that I will gain from the SMF program, when coupled with my background in applied economics, will be immensely helpful for me during the competitive job search process. One of the benefits of having been through a graduate program already, besides not having to stand in line to get a new BuckID and already generally knowing my way around campus (though I still get lost sometimes), is that I have learned a few things that should make this upcoming year a little bit easier, so I thought I would share some of these lessons with you.
1. Be organized– between classes, team meetings, career management events, social outings, and all of the little things that will inevitably come up every day, you are probably going to be busier than you have ever been before. As such, it is essential to be organized. Write down all of your meetings and deadlines in a planner and check your email often for any changes in locations or times. For class, print out lecture slides ahead of time so you can focus on the professor instead of frantically trying to write down every word, and try to get your backpack together the night before so you do not accidentally leave your homework on the kitchen counter!
2. Manage your time– every new school year I say I am going to keep up with the reading and get that term paper done way ahead of time, but, regardless of my good intentions, within a few weeks the work begins to pile up, and so does the stress. Luckily (or unluckily), the SMF program, with its seven-week terms, is going to be so fast-paced that I will not have time to procrastinate. I just try to remember that other students have survived this program so the workload is doable, but the marathon TV-watching sessions may have to wait until next summer. My weakness: 30 Rock reruns on Netflix. One episode just flows right into the next!
3. Find balance– being in graduate school, especially in a program as intense as the SMF, it would be easy to spend all day every day reading text books and editing your resume, but it is important, for your health and your sanity, to do something you enjoy every day. It is going to be a long year and you do not want to burn out before fall semester is even over. For me, my stress relief comes from going to the gym or running outside if the weather is nice. Kickboxing is particularly therapeutic. The RPAC has a great group fitness schedule with classes pretty much all day, even on the weekends.
4. Don’t sweat the small stuff– from my experience, graduate school, more so than undergrad, is about the bigger picture. And while getting good grades is definitely still important, it is less important to memorize a hundred definitions and get the exact right answer on every test question than it is to really understand the material you are learning, to understand the logic and assumptions that went into getting to that right answer. It is also more important now to take advantage of the learning opportunities outside of the classroom. Talk to your classmates and professors, do a practice interview in the career management office, and stay in touch with what is going on in the world. Your classes will teach you the technical skills that you need to succeed, but these extra lessons could be essential to landing that dream job and being successful in the long-term.